Report to Hikers: week of Feb 23-March 1

Hello Hikers!


Wed Feb 25

Snowmobile trail behind Dandy Mini Mart, Slaterville Springs

Slaterville Spr snowmobile trail 088

Fantastic morning on an unfamiliar snowmobile trail up into the huge fields north of Slaterville Springs — the setting was truly spectacular, and we had dazzling sunny weather with puffy clouds — result ….

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…. one of the best walks we’ve had in a number of years.

We ended up on this trail by sheer luck — we’d shaped up a few miles away at what I thought was the start of a snowmobile trail into Hammond Hill SF — but then a passing farmer told us that trail wasn’t used any more; instead, he directed us to a trail behind the market in Slaterville Springs

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What a total delight it turned out to be! We kept hitting one beautiful field after another — much of the outbound leg was uphill and the broad valley behind us kept getting more and more dramatic

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Maybe it was the effect of all the sparkling snow, but it seemed like we were in some wonderful space midway between the land and the sky a lot of the time — just one downside — the wind was gusting up to 30 mph straight in our faces on the outbound — but it wasn’t fully awful — the temp was in the low 20s, so the net effect wasn’t that bad.

It’s not very often that everything comspires to produce such a great hike,

Official head count: 15 hikers, three dogs.

Click here to see seven more photos online


Sat Feb 28

Snowmobile trails, Yellow Barn State Forest, Dryden
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It was 23 below at the Cornell weather station in Harford just two hours before we had to leave for this hike, and I seriously wondered if it would come off — but we lucked out once again, to wrap up a frigid month of many lucky breaks for us — by a little after nine, it was 2 above, the sun was shining brightly, the wind was calm, and we had a lovely hike.
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This was the first time ever I’d been to Yellow Barn in winter — not as many pine trees as I generally like to see in a state forest — on the other hand, the quality of the snowmobile trails was superb, smooth hard surfaces, crisp edges, the main ones almost as wide as a small road
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There was quite a bit of snowmobile traffic but I thought that was fun, not an annoyance, and most of the time we had the still woods to ourselves
Yellow Barn snowmobile trails 088

Official head count: 11 hikers, two dogs.

By the time we got back to the cars it was 15 and everyone was toasty — so ended the coldest February on record for us, comfortably enough, and with another delightful walk under our belts.

Click here to see seven more photos online.


Sun Mar 1

Snowmobile trail, Fisher Settlement Road to Travor Road, Danby SF
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Classic winter morning — gloomy grey light, snowy drive out to the trail, fresh powder, brooding snow-covered pines everywhere — fabulous!
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Saturday’s snowmobile trail was jumping with action — Sunday’s was dead — the snow was packed down enough for us to walk pretty easily, but clearly this stretch through the eastern part of Danby SF doesn’t get much use, and there was a wonderful sense of stillness and peacefulness in the falling snow
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It didn’t warm up as much as it was supposed to, and there was a little nagging breeze, but we had a great time
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One notable thing about this trail is that we get to see two kinds of pines almost side by side, tall straight ones with very little greenery up at the top, and more squatty ones with heavy thick boughs that catch the snow — I’m sure they’re not really pines but I don’t care what the correct names are, I just love the way they look.

Official head count: 14 hikers, three dogs

You can see six more photos by me here.

You can see photos by Iris here.